Monday, November 17, 2014

Mildred, My Adjustable Dress Form Is Complete!

I have said it before, but it is worth repeating, I love it when a plan comes together. You may remember Mildred, my Acme adjustable dress form. She was generously given to me by a friend. She had been well loved and had some damage to her chipboard, jersey cover and her interior supports. In that previous post you can see a breakdown of what she needed and the first part of that repair.

Most of the repairs I made where made by trial and error and guesswork. I made a paste of shredded paper and Mod Podge to fill the holes in the chip board. 

On the portions that were broken completely, I supported the sides in the proper position, filled with the paste if needed and let it dry. Once it was dry, I Mod Podged  pattern paper over the filled seams and holes.

Once I was satisfied that the structure was sound, I looked in my stash to find a suitable cover for Mildred. It is in times like these that I know how hoarders are born. I found some lace scraps in my stash that until now could not conceivably be used for anything.  I cut it to size and discovered it was just enough to cover this form! It was confirmation that I should never throw scraps away, ever!

The lace is a large scale motif and the fabric beneath would show. I needed to cover the under layer with an attractive color. I decided on metallic silver spray paint. I went this route to kill two birds with one stone. Despite my cleaning the nuts, bolts and supports with steel wool, it was still a bit dull.  In addition to covering the fabric, the paint promised to cover existing rust and prevent more from developing in the future.

First coat of silver spray paint.
After the pieces were painted and dry, I applied spray adhesive to the back of the pre-cut lace and painted fabric side of the form and covered it. I allowed about a 1-inch seam allowance on all edges and wrapped it around the sides. I secured the overlapped edges with Mod Podge. I knew it would dry hard and adhere to the chipboard underneath. I was uncertain how the decoupage medium would affect the lace on the front. I wanted it to be secure, but not hard to the touch. My plan was to try it with only the spray adhesive and if needed, add layers of Mod Podge for fabric in time.

She started out as Mildred, but now that she is dressed in this sexy lace number, I have renamed her, meet Millie. She is repaired and standing straighter in her new loveliness.

She only took about 2 days of active work. I left her to dry and cure for a few days in between the work days. I made two minor time-sapping mistakes along the way. The first is not marking each piece and their position when I took it apart. I photographed them and thought it looked obvious which was right front, and left back and so on. The lace cover and coupled with the distraction of two children playing, it is not so obvious. In the end, it worked out. 

The second thing I should have done, was spray the nuts and bolts with a lubricant after the rust removal. They were clean but, a bit stiff to turn when I was putting it back together. The putting it back part requires holding many moving segments in place while tightening them. 
Close up of the upper body.

Lower body
This was a fun and satisfying project. I am trilled that I was able to restore her and bring her back to a usable and beautiful state. There is always a fear of ruining such a treasure, but I am glad I took the risk. Best of all, the friend who gave Millie to me is pleased with the result.

Happy Sewing,


  1. Wow! What a transformation! Fantastic job :)

  2. Just really in awe of the way you came at this and the results are stunning. To be honest, I was a little dubious about how this would come together after you showed some of the wear and tear and you did it big time. You should be very proud.


    1. That is so funny, that you had doubts! :) I am very proud!

  3. Really enjoyed reading about Millie's transition. You did a wonderful job, and she is beautiful!

    1. Thanks so much for saying so! She is fun to have around!